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HomeSportNBA: Paolo Banchero, Magic force Game 7 vs Cavaliers

NBA: Paolo Banchero, Magic force Game 7 vs Cavaliers


Paolo Banchero vs Donovan Mitchel Magic beat Cavaliers Game 6 NBA playoffs

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero, right, go after a rebound during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Friday, May 3, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Florida — Paolo Banchero scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Orlando Magic overcome Donovan Mitchell’s 50 points and hold off the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-96 on Friday night to force a decisive Game 7 in their first-round NBA playoff series.

Three nights after scoring 39 points on 14-of-24 shooting in a one-point road loss that left the Magic on the brink of elimination, the 21-year-old Banchero put his team on his back and carried them to their biggest win in years.

Franz Wagner had 26 points and Jalen Suggs made six 3-pointers and finished with 22 for the Magic, who pulled away in the closing minutes, with Banchero hitting a 3-pointer that put Orlando ahead for good at 92-89.

READ: NBA: Just 21, Magic star Paolo Banchero continues to impress

Mitchell was magnificent for Cleveland, scoring all of his team’s 18 points in the fourth quarter. Darius Garland finished with 21, but ultimately the Cavs were unable to overcome poor 3-point shooting (7 of 28).

Game 7 is Sunday in Cleveland, where the Cavs won Games 1, 2 and 5 and clearly play better than on the road, where they’ve dropped seven straight playoff games dating to a LeBron James-led Game 7 victory at Boston in the 2018 Eastern Conference finals.

The Cavs haven’t won a postseason series since then. The Magic, in the playoffs for the first time since 2020, are seeking their first series win in 14 years.

READ: NBA: Cavs’ Donovan Mitchell promises to ‘be better’ in Game 5 vs Magic

Orlando took Games 3 and 4 by a combined 61 points, yet came out Friday night with a slightly different look, inserting forward Jonathan Isaac into the starting lineup and shifting Wagner from forward to guard to put four 6-foot-10 players on the floor at the same time.

With center Jarrett Allen out for the second consecutive game because of a bruised rib, the Cavs slid forward Evan Mobley to center and started Marcus Morris Sr. after the 34-year-old came off the bench to score 12 points and elevate Cleveland’s level of physicality.

The Cavs trailed 53-49 at the half and were fortunate the deficit wasn’t larger, considering they had misfired on 13 of 14 3-point attempts.

With an aggressive Mitchell and Garland seemingly driving to the basket at will, Cleveland converted 22 of 32 shots inside the arc and wound up shooting 50% overall (23 of 46) before the break to stay close.

They finally heated up from long range in the third quarter, with Mitchell and Max Strus making 3-pointers during a 17-4 surge to begin the period. The trailed by as many as nine before closing within 78-73 leading into the fourth quarter.



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